Confidentiality and ethics
It is not easy to talk to a stranger about personal and sensitive issues, even when the stranger is a professional therapist, and you may be concerned with the possibility that your secrets will be exposed. On psychom you will find only professional therapists who are members of professional organizations and committed to an ethical code and to confidentiality in particular.
I am always asked about the danger of someone hacking into the site. The written therapeutic sessions are documented on your forum (in the online clinic), so any hacker can read it. Surprisingly, despite the possibility of hacking, online therapy is much safer than face-to-face therapy. In traditional therapy your identity is exposed to anyone who sees you entering the therapist's clinic, while no one knows that you are seeking online therapy. If someone wishes to listen in on your face-to-face therapy, this could simply be done by secretly placing a microphone in the therapist's clinic or by stealing records from his office. It is much harder to do this online, since it takes technical know-how of an exceptionally high standard, and since it is difficult to get information one does not even know exists (only the therapist and the client know the address of the online clinic, and if someone breaks in he will find it difficult to identify what it is).
You can also improve confidentiality by changing your password whenever you like.
Do not forget that the online clinic belongs to you only, and that you can ask the therapist to delete it or parts of it. In addition, if you do not wish to record sensitive information in writing, you can always talk to your therapist through an audio call or video-chat, without using a public software such as Skype.
All psychom therapists are members of professional organizations and are committed to their ethical codes. On each therapist's personal page, you can find information concerning the therapist's professional association and ethical code. In case of any type of unethical behavior, it is possible to file a complaint directly to the Ethics Committee of the therapist's professional organization.
In my research I examined the ethical codes of many professional organizations, formulating psychom's ethical code based on them. All therapists on the site are committed to this code, in addition to the ethical code of their own professional organization.
Mind. No definition of the term 'mind' has ever been agreed upon by the various schools of psychotherapy and each therapist has his or her own perception of this vague term. Therefore it is stated that psychom's therapists and counselors are experts only in emotions and behavior. Emotions are the 'automatic pilot' that navigate our behavior, and therapists will support clients who seek help in maintaining their emotions.
Treatment. 'Therapy' or 'treatment' is a misleading term, borrowed from medical jargon. Psychotherapists do not heal the 'mind' in the way that physicians heal the body. This is impossible, first, since the 'mind' is an abstract concept, and second, since it cannot be healed through manipulation, as in medicine. Therapists do not change or improve the condition of their clients, but only help them to develop their own tools and teach them how to better cope with their emotions and crises by adjusting their behavior to reality. Therefore, the term 'client' has replaced the old term 'patient'. Only the clients themselves are responsible for any change they experience, while the therapists only function as instructors or trainers.
Professional skills. psychom's therapists and counselors are committed to the body of knowledge they acquired as professionals in their field and they are responsible for the result of their work. They will explain the limitations of their knowledge and responsibility to their clients and adapt their knowledge to their clients' needs. They will update their knowledge according to the requirements of their professional organizations and offer the best service without deviating from its professional limits. They will refrain from any intervention or advice in any other field that is not relevant to the therapeutic interaction.
The law and the ethical code. Therapists and counselors are obliged to obey the law regarding their professional work and any topic beyond their work, while at the same time following the ethical code of their professional organization.
Privacy and confidentiality. Therapists and counselors will protect the privacy and anonymity of their clients as much as possible, and refrain from any conduct that might expose them. They will not make any contact with any third party (including client's family members and friends) concerning their clients and will maintain confidentiality regarding the content of the meetings. They will not use this information in publications (and will never ask their clients for permission to do so). Therapists and counselors can consult regarding their clients only in cases of professional supervision, which will also be strictly confidential. The only exception from the obligation to confidentiality will be made when required by law or in case of imminent danger to the client's life orthat of other individual.
Contact with clients. Therapist and counselors will refrain from any contact with their clients outside their regular therapeutic sessions, or after ending the treatment. The relationship between therapists or counselors and their clients are intended solely for the benefit of the clients and presonnel will refrain from any form of client exploitation.
Focus on clients. The therapists and counselors will focus their attention and professional work on their clients and will refrain from gossip or criticism of other therapists or persons. They will do their best to focus on their clients' needs and avoid discussiing persons who are not present in the interaction.
You can find the ethical codes of some professional organizations on the follosing Internet sites:
If you feel that that the therapy or counseling you are receiving on this site deviates from psychom's ethical code, please contact me so that I can deal with the difficulty as soon as possible at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Dror Green